Linguistic Intuitions: Error Signals and the Voice of Competence

In Samuel Schindler, Anna Drożdżowicz & Karen Brøcker (eds.), Linguistic Intuitions. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Linguistic intuitions are a central source of evidence across a variety of linguistic domains. They have also long been a source of controversy. This chapter aims to illuminate the etiology and evidential status of at least some linguistic intuitions by relating them to error signals of the sort posited by accounts of on-line monitoring of speech production and comprehension. The suggestion is framed as a novel reply to Michael Devitt’s claim that linguistic intuitions are theory-laden “central systems” responses, rather than endorsed outputs of a modularized language faculty (the “Voice of Competence”). Along the way, it is argued that linguistic intuitions may not constitute a natural kind with a common etiology; and that, for a range of cases, the process by which intuitions used in linguistics are generated amounts to little more than comprehension.

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Steven Gross
Johns Hopkins University


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